Nine Crofties (Gemma Mallett, Jenny Davies, Jo Marriott, Kelly Bowen, Sarah
Guerney, Sarah Norman, Simon Norwood, Tom Powell and Tori Dickinson) and a
potential new member, Sarah Leyland-Morgan, completed the 30th running of the
Forest of Dean Spring Half Marathon on 7 April. The race doubled up as the UK
Trail Running Championships short distance 2018. For some of us this was the
third attempt at a half marathon having planned to do Bath Half (cancelled due
to Beast from the East 1) and the original running of this race on 18 March
(cancelled due to Beast from the East 2). However, the weather finally played its
part and despite the leaden skies and heavy rain on the journey south it was
pretty much dry for the rest of the day, just one short sharp downpour during
the race itself.
The pre-race organisation was great, quick pick up for numbers and plenty of
portaloos. You could even opt for a pre-race bacon butty. The car park held up
pretty well despite a muddy churned up section at the entrance.
So some 835 runners were lined up at the start at 10am. There was the usual
jostling for pace/position over the first mile (my only quibble is that the line up
based on expected finish time wasn't obvious) but soon everyone was pretty
spread out. There was a sharp downhill between miles 2 and 3, which justified
the choice of trail shoes, but in drier conditions road shoes would be fine as
virtually all of the rest of the race is on forestry tracks. With the race
rescheduling, the road crossing at the 3.5 mile mark was only in place for 35
minutes and after that people were marshalled across, otherwise I don't think
there was any change from the original race route – the gradient profile certainly
looked the same! Having descended steeply the ascent came with steeper
sections between miles 4 and 5 and then 6 and 7 with a last 'kicker' at about 11.5
miles. But there was great support throughout the race especially the singing St
John's ambulance ladies strategically positioned at about 6.5 miles. And with
four water stops there was no concern about running dry! A well-organised
finish; lovely medals (with a bit of weight); a print out of times, pace, position
etc.; t-shirts for the first 50 finishers; and coffee/teas and snacks available.
Overall a great way to spend a Saturday morning and one I'd do again and
recommend to others.
For Jenny, Kelly, Sarah N and I think Gemma. the next stop is London Marathon. Good luck ladies.
The all-important times/results are:
Gemma 1.38.39 7th overall female and5 th in age group
Kelly 1.38.43 6th overall female and 6th in age group
Sarah N 2.17.27
Sarah G and Sarah L-M 2.30.33
Gemma, Kelly and Jo achieved 3rd affiliated female team for Croft.